Saturday, January 05, 2008

Chicago State recap

A win is a win, but frankly I was hoping for a better showing after the Clemson debacle. We jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but then we got into a funk. We did a very poor job of taking care of the basketball in the first half, and once again our intensity on defense was not what it should be. At one point in the first half, we went to a 2-3 zone, despite the fact that we had better athletes on the floor at every position, and Chicago State had one of the nation's best 3 point shooters. This allowed the Cougars to take a 28-24 lead, before we switched back to the man to man defense and shut them down for the next several minutes. Riley, Gee, and Hollinger made some perimeter shots to fuel the run at the end of the first half that gave us the lead for good.

Hendrix was dominant inside on offense when we managed to get him the ball. Still, both Gee and Hendrix missed too many easy shots. Sometimes I think we try to lay the ball up and end up missing close range shots when we could go for a dunk. We desperately need more production out of Coleman and/or Jemison.

I did notice Coach Gottfried get in Riley's face and yell at him for his poor effort on defense late in the game. Riley had a typical game, he made some huge shots but also shot a couple of air balls, had a few great plays on defense but also seemed to get lost at times.

18 turnovers against Chicago State is ridiculous. Thankfully, they did not have the depth to press us the whole game. If we don't learn how to break the press between now and then, Tennessee will come in and beat us by 50.

I thought both Hollinger and Pickett did a good job of defending their top scorer.

Justin Tubbs got some playing time, but he picked up 3 quick fouls, including fouling a 3 point shooter late in the game. I like his intensity, but he's got to play smarter on defense if he wants to see more playing time. I was not happy with Gee shooting quick 3's in the last 2 minutes of the game when we should have been trying to run out the clock.

There was a herd of kids sitting behind me, babbling loudly about random subjects as kids are prone to do. The bright spot of the evening came when one of them inquired, in all seriousness, "Is there such a thing as auburn basketball?"

Up next, we start conference play at home Tuesday night against the "two time defending National Champion" Florida Gators. Fortunately, they are defending national champions in name only, as they bring in a very young team that looks nothing like the monster they had last year. This appears to be a matchup between two mediocre basketball teams. If we are going anywhere this season, we need to get this win at home. If you can't make it to the game, it will be televised nationally at 8pm on ESPN.


Alias said...

Thanks, DJC. That was a very sobering report. I am glad to hear that CMG has informed Riley that defense is not a metaphysical term. I honestly do not think we have anyone who can, does or is allowed to teach these kids HOW to play defense. They have looked like they want to do what is right. I'm just not sure they know yet how. I sure hope they can learn.

bobbyjack said...

Thanks DJC... I wanted to make sure my eears weren't deceiving me in the 1st half.

If we don't beat UF Tuesday I'll go ahead and declare this season over. That's how big this game is for our (slim) NCAA hopes.

MSmilie said...

You hate to see so much pressure on the team at this point in the season but, yes, they have to win the game Tuesday night. With their next two on the road, a win to start conference would be a much-needed confidence boost to a team that is extremely hot and cold.
I was disappointed in the sloppy play Friday night, but there were moments where the team was able to put it together and showed why they can be a good team.
Defense continues to be the hang-up for this team, however. Another team shot over 40% from the field. The difference was Alabama was able to force turnovers. Of course, they turned the ball over so much they were not able to take complete control of the game.
I really have no prediction for Tuesday night. This team is just too inconsistent. Florida definitely appears to be going through a transition, but there's still a lot of talent on that team. My feeling is it'll be a close game. The homecourt advantage and Bama being slightly more experienced could be the determining factor.